'Robotic surgery is future of medicine'


Robotic surgery is future of medicine

Robotic surgery is the future of medicine, according to one expert.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

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Published: Sun 14 Apr 2013, 9:46 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:43 PM

“In the next five to ten years, any kind of surgery will become, frankly, robotic,” stated Dr Adolfo Panfili, orthopaedic surgeon and founder of the National Excellency Centre for Robotic and Non-Invasive Spine, Shoulder and Knee Surgery in Italy.

According to Dr Panfili, the benefits of robotic technology are extensive. It significantly reduces medical error and advances patient treatment. As it is minimally invasive, blood loss is less, procedures have fewer complications, its safer and recovery is faster. A patient can leave the hospital the following day after surgery.

In terms of accuracy, a robot can perform about 99.7 per cent where “normally a doctor can perform at his best, 90 per cent.” He added that robots are also not affected by stress and fatigue, and are “always at the top of their performance.”

Dr Panfili said there are 20 types of robot used for different kinds of operations. “Spine robotic surgery is the most performed in this field because in the spine we have all the delicate structures like the spinal nerve and spinal cord so we have to be very precise, very accurate and the robotic device can lead us,” he explained.

The “flight plan” for the robot is developed in advance using the CT scan of the bone to programme where the screw will go, when the knife will arrive and the trajectory.

“It takes about 40 minutes to make a flight plan in advance,” said the specialist.

A track is then placed on the spine where the robot will be mounted and work accordingly. Mazor robotics is used for this type of surgery.

Dr Panfili cited the fracture of a 65-year old woman whose lower legs were paralysed following a slipped vertebrae after a trauma. The procedure to reposition the vertebrae was carried out in 30 minutes, where normal surgery usually takes two to three hours.

“She was able to walk the morning after,” he said.

However, despite its many advantages, robotic surgery comes at a price. Mazor robotics costs about USD1.3 million — Dh6.2million — and the da Vinci surgical system about USD2 million — Dh9.5million.

In the UAE, robotic surgery has yet to make its mark, but Dr Panfili believes that the country has the right environment to host a centre where “every kind of robotic (surgery) will be performed.”

He is currently in talks with an investment group here to establish either a teaching facility or a surgical centre where the technology and expertise can be shared among doctors.— olivia@khaleejtimes.com

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